County Council will hold the regularly scheduled Council meeting this coming Thursday, March 19, 2020 at 9:00am. Council is encouraging the public to watch the meeting online versus attending in an effort to minimize the threat of exposure. Meetings can be viewed at www.florenceco.org and click on “Live Meeting”.
Florence County Government offices will remain open and operational, continuing to provide essential services. However, in an effort to minimize the threat of spread of the coronavirus COVID-19, beginning 12:00 noon, Thursday, March 19, 2020, public access to all County buildings, facilities and offices will be restricted and the restriction will continue until public health officials have determined the threat to the public posed by COVID-19 has passed. Florence County Council is expected to declare a State of Emergency to take effect on Thursday, March 19,2020. This is being done to protect the employees as well as the citizenry from the highly contagious COVID-19 virus and in compliance with the CDC guidelines. A few key facilities will remain open with some alterations to normal operations to limit person-to-person contact and the spread of germs. Those facilities are as follows:
• All manned convenience centers will remain open under normal operation hours, Monday through Saturday, 7am to 7pm.
• The Register of Deeds office in the Complex will continue to allow very limited attendance, which will be by appointment only. Paralegals will be allowed in the Record Room by appointment only and limited to three people at a time, for approximately four hours per appointment. To make an appointment, call (843) 665-3031. Those receiving appointments must remain at their assigned work station during their appointed time. Documents may be left in the dropbox at the back Complex entrance with security in a marked envelope with clear directions for where and to whom it should be directed.
Items dropped off without a paralegal’s name on them will be recorded upon receipt. Filings can be mailed to 180 N. Irby Street. MSC-E. Florence. SC 29501.
• The Florence County Voters Registration and Elections Office will remain open for regular hours to accommodate filing for partisan elected offices. Staff will take actions to limit the number of people inside the facility at one time. Call (843) 665-2351 for an appointment.
All other county facilities will be restricted to the public. Hours of operation for most county offices will remain 8:30-5pm. Email addresses and phone numbers for all departments are available at www.florenceco.org. If you have a question for a particular department, please visit the website for contact information.
• The Building Department will accept online permit applications, construction documents and payments. The County’s website will have links in three separate places to ensure that citizens can easily access the Citizen’s Access Portal. One link is under the Online Services tab; another is under the Planning tab; the last one is under Building Permits tab. The address will be http://florenceco.org/offices/planning/inspections. Applicants will first create an account and then follow the on screen instructions. Should applicants have any questions they are encouraged to call our office for assistance at (843) 676-8600. Citizens may also submit a permit application via email at email@example.com. Payments will be taken over the phone via credit card. Applications can be downloaded from the County’s website at http://florenceco.org/offices/planning/forms. The department will also continue to accept permit applications and check by mail at 518 South Irby Street, Florence, SC 29501.
• Any Probate Court hearings for non-emergency matters shall be continued to a future date and time. Filings can be made by mail, or if time is of the essence, staff will try to accommodate if you contact the office. Customers are asked to consider waiting to apply for marriage licenses until the department reopens to the public. If you have questions or concerns, please call (843) 665-3085 and a staff person can assist you.
• Florence County Circuit Courts have postponed all jury trials. Non-jury proceedings will be scheduled at the judge’s discretion. All roll calls and other large gatherings are cancelled until further notice. Filings and payments (money orders, business checks or cashier’s checks only) can be mailed or accepted by appointment only. Please call the Circuit Court at (843) 665-3017.
• Family Court emergency hearings will be scheduled on an as needed basis. For all other Family Court concerns, call (843) 665-3096.
• Florence County Summary Courts will be continued until another date. Notices will be sent out with date and time of new trials to individuals with a civil or criminal offense. All jury trials have been cancelled at this time. Tickets can be paid at www.florenceco.org/payticket or mailed in the form of money order or cashier’s check to the appropriate court. Any questions regarding case numbers, payment amounts or new court dates should be directed to the court of record. Court contact numbers can be found at www.florenceco.org/offices/magistrate. Additional questions can be directed to the Chief Magistrate Belinda Timmons at (843) 665-6690.
• Treasurer’s Office – Current taxes can be paid online at www.florenceco.org or mailed to 180 N. Irby Street, MSC – Z, Florence, SC 29501. Current property tax questions are directed to (843) 665-3041. Delinquent property tax payments can be mailed to 180 N. Irby Street, MSC-TT, Florence, SC 29501 and questions to (843) 665-3095. The Treasurer is working to establish an outside lock box at the Complex. Further updates will be given once this occurs.
• Auditor’s Office-Please call the department at (843) 665-3088 with any questions about business that needs to be conducted with the office.
• AdministrationlFinance/HR: Please contact the respective department with questions. Emails and phone numbers are listed on the website.
• Recreation: All reservations, classes and events have been cancelled for recreation programs until April 6, 2020. The situation will be re-evaluated and further updates given at that time.
• Veterans Affairs: Staff will be available to assist Veterans as needed by appointment. Please call (843) 665-3045 to schedule an appointment.
The Florence County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains at Operating Condition (OPCON) 2 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The EOC will be open during normal business hours (8:30a-5:00p, M-F) but EMD staff will be continuously monitoring the situation. Due to the nature of this response mission, and the need to maintain social distancing, EOC operations will be carried out virtually. All media information requests will be handled by phone or email.
All emergency response agencies of Florence County EMS, the Florence County Unified Fire District and the Florence County Sheriffs Office will continue to respond to emergency calls. The Florence County Law Enforcement Complex and all EMS and Unified Fire District stations will be closed to the public.
Further updates will be released as they become necessary.